We are in the swing of vacation season. Maybe you’ve already enjoyed yours and are looking back at your credit card and bank statements wondering, “What did I spend my money on?” Or maybe you are counting the days until your get away and you’d like to gauge where you are on the splurge meter. Well, you can compare your time off to my family’s story at the land of Gym, Tan, Laundry…the Jersey Shore.
This stay in Cape May was much like past years…rush down to beat traffic and then try to find ways to kill four hours before your 2pm check-in.
This time around though, I paid particular attention to our spending—not just to save myself heartache, but for the sake of this article. Now we didn’t purposely try to save as much as possible, nor was I trying to spend too much either. But between military training, running a business, and other family obligations, this is my one week to splurge a little. My wife and kids get the other 51.
- Family Dinner (I covered the tab): $200
- Our dinner: $98
- Deli: $20
- Take out: $40
- Mini golf (which I lost): $15
- Arcade: $50
- Wildwood trip (food and boardwalk): $150
- Ice cream (at least 4 nights, $15 each): $60
So, you can see just how quick the nights out can add up in just a week. And this total doesn’t include a couple of morning coffee runs, the groceries we took with us, and some things my wife paid for. Add in the house rental cost, and we are easily well into a couple grand for a week at the beach. But I ain’t complainin’.
As I said above, we were not really operating on a strict budget. If it had to be done, it easily could have, we’ve done it in the past. Subbing out one night at the restaurant for pizza or dinner at home would have saved at least a hundred bucks. One less $5.75 Blue Moon per meal definitely adds up. If you’re not into rides, or crowds, or have a crane game addiction (I am starting a support group) then that Wildwood expense goes back into the wallet. So, if you are pulling tight on the purse strings, there’s a few easy suggestions to help…
Do some research beforehand, and not just on hotels and airfare, but the destination specifically for events during your stay and places to eat. Most places now have menus online so you can find the most affordable spots or the best chicken fingers for the kids. A little time spent a head of time may score you some deals or coupons for things you want to do. Be sure to grab those flyers in the lobby or the welcome bag when you get your keys—these typically have special offers and discount info. Also, consider asking around for a reliable travel agent (yes, they do exist). They may have access to deals that you do not, and may certainly save you the time of shopping so many travel websites.
Please, just take the trip!
Either way, regardless of your budget, take your trip! As Americans, we are notoriously known for not taking enough time off. Maybe that is why we eat out of stress and get road rage on 76 (or is it just me?). So even if your family budget is tight, find ways to get away together and spend your money on the important stuff, like getting all the ice cream induced smiles your heart can handle.
Keep it good,